It’s my challenge and duty to make the “movie” worth viewing.
And it’s their job to be engaged with the movie.
The first day of class brought a familiar lament. “Professor, I need you to understand that I work and depend on the bus. So I will need to leave class early on most days. But I’ll only miss about 15 minutes.”
What the student asked for, in reality, was to miss 20% of the class–for the entire semester.
These are great teaching moments. “So, tell me how long you would last on a job if you told the boss that she needed to understand that you would be missing 20% of the workweek. And you still expected a full paycheck.”
This week I pulled out an old story that I haven’t used in years. I got the idea from a conference session I attended years ago. (I do not remember who planted this thought.) I call this “The Longest Movie of Your Life!” Here are the quick bullet points of the story.
- A young man paid for a ticket to see a new movie. The movie was 2.5 hours long.
- Unfortunately, he arrived five minutes late, walked into the already-started movie and walked down the aisle and found a seat in the middle of a row. He had to clamber over a number of people.
- Fifteen minutes later, he got up to go to the bathroom. He came back ten minutes later.
- He settled in for about twenty minutes to watch the movie—when his stomach growled. Up he stood, moved down the row, and went to the refreshment counter for a snack. He returned ten minutes later.
- His cell phone rang. He answered it. And he had a brief conversation (albeit he did attempt to be very quiet).
- When he ended the call, he turned to the person next to him and said, “Did I miss anything important?”
- Five minutes before the end of the movie, he left. He had to get to work.
- Later that day at work: “That was the worst movie I’ve ever seen. I have no idea what it was about! I don’t even remember its name.”
Interestingly, as I let this story unfold, the students are laughing and making spot-on observations like:
- Why did he waste his money?
- He keeps disturbing people!
- He missed the beginning, middle and end of the movie.
- What an idiot!
- How can he judge the movie? He really has no idea what it is about.
That leads me to the lesson. I tell the class:
Now, get ready for the longest movie of your life. Like the movie, our class meets 2.5 hours a week and it lasts for 16 weeks. If you come in late, leave early, stay distracted (with technology, conversations, or leaving the room) you will miss the class. You will disturb your classmates and the professor. You will have wasted your tuition money. You made the choice to pay the “price of admission” (in dollars and time) to this class. It’s jammed pack with powerful and relevant material. You will get out of it what you put into it. Yes, you can choose to ‘blow of the class’—but you have no right to interfere with anyone else. So, find your seat…and let’s start the movie.
Video recommendation for the week:
It’s my challenge and duty to make the “movie” worth viewing. And it’s their challenge to be engaged with the movie. In this “movie” we both have responsibilities. Let’s move into the future with purpose. Consider this digital tool for reminding us about the “plot line” in our movie.
Make it a wonderful week—H.T.R.B. as needed.
Information on my newest book, Choices for College Success (3rd ed.), can be found at Pearson Education.
(c) 2014. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.